As protests over sky-high electricity bills continue, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Friday authorized power distribution companies to charge consumers Rs. 1.46 per unit for fuel charges adjustment (FCA) in their July bills.
The decision was made, according to the regulator, in accordance with Section 31(7) of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission, and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997, as amended by the Regulation of Generation, Transmission, and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Act 2011.
The FCA will be applicable to “all the consumer categories except Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCS) and lifeline consumers”.
NEPRA approves FCA in July 2023 Electricity Bills
“The said adjustment shall be shown separately in the consumers’ bills on the basis of units billed to the consumers in the month of July 2023. XWDISCOs shall reflect the fuel charges adjustment in respect of July 2023 in the billing month of September 2023,” said the NEPRA notification.
Last week, Nepra stated that expensive imported coal inventory held by coal-based power plants, particularly the Sahiwal coal power plant, as well as system limitations such as the HVDC transmission line’s inability to fully transport cost-effective power from southern generators, imposed a significant financial burden on power consumers.
The latest increase in the power tariff comes at a time when consumers are already being burdened by record inflation as well as high gasoline and electricity prices.
Consumers should expect a cumulative load of Rs. 24.76 billion in their September 2023 bills due to national demonstrations prompted by soaring electricity bills resulting from increased electricity costs, since over 14 billion units were sold in July.
Caretaker PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar Request To IMF
Following continuous street protests by citizens and traders against exorbitant increases in power bills and taxation, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar-led setup in Islamabad has been attempting to entice the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to agree to provide immediate relief for electricity consumers in the cash-strapped country, where people are already battered by skyrocketing inflation.
It is vital to emphasize that the South Asian country is subject to an IMF program, and any assistance or subsidy must be approved by the IMF.
As people took to the streets to protest the high electricity bills, both sides engaged in heated discussions.
“The final approval to collect bills in installments will be taken from the federal cabinet,” the sources said, adding that this measure is likely to provide temporary relief to approximately 4 million power customers.
However, the Fund rejected the interim government’s idea to provide relief to individuals consuming up to 400 units of power each month, according to the sources, adding that 32 million people would have benefited if this request had been granted.
They also stated that the Washington-based lender emphasized the importance of cracking down on power and gas thieves and improving recovery.
According to the sources, the Fund has also requested a 45 to 50% hike in gas tariffs beginning July 1. The increase in gas tariff, however, is subject to approval by the federal cabinet.
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